Home / Drama / Failure (and other opportunities for non-linear success) – Unity Theatre, Liverpool

Failure (and other opportunities for non-linear success) – Unity Theatre, Liverpool

Writer/Director: Mary Pearson

Reviewer: Jamie Gaskiin


FailureNormally when I want dancing to make me laugh I turn on ‘Strictly’. Mary Pearson shows us there is another way. She offers us a highly creative look at our fears of failing. Failure(and other opportunities for non-linear success)is about the fantasies we conjure up regarding our success and the lengths, both little and small, we go to achieve this.

This very quirky solo performance spotlights our need to be loved. I say solo, however Mary has a cast of thousands of white kidney beans. Swishing these about on stage like a human kaleidoscope may seem like a desperate bid to win the Turner Prize but it works. And she’s aided and abetted by men in the audience in a saucy little number using feather fans, spray-jars and big hats. Mary asked for ten volunteers but gamely settled for eight.

The strength of the piece is how this very elastic self-confessed 37-year-old moves about the stage, clambers on precarious looking plinths and creating equally dexterous accents for characters to espouse the fears we have about the things that go wrong in our lives.

The audience responded with warm giggles and applause as she swapped costumes from one over-the-top character to another: We were recognising the absurd rituals of our own lives. Failure is for lovers of physical theatre which is thought provoking and not just upmarket slapstick.

A word of warning though, be prepared for the show to open in the bar with a cosy chat about yourself and make time for the question session at the end.

Pearson risks a daring final exit with more help from the audience. A triumph for Mary but perhaps a failure for fans of Health and Safety!

Reviewed on 30th October.

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